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Entrepreneur Offers Way to Use E&P Wastewater for Generation

Vancouver-based Encore Clean Energy Inc. is targeting the oil and natural gas production industry with new technologies that allow producers to use their wastewater and other byproducts to produce power for operations.

The company conducted a successful test of heat-to-power product, the "HeatSeeker," late last month in Mississippi near the lab of the inventor who developed it. Larry Shultz, Encore's founder said the company is lining up energy industry, military and financial community representatives for a larger-scale demonstration later this month or early in May.

The oil and gas industry, however, is where the company thinks there is tremendous potential. "There are thousands upon thousands of capped wells in the United States that were capped because they produced more water than oil and gas," said Shultz. "We can harness that 200- to 300-degree high-temperature water to generate power."

He said Congress passed the Energy Recovery Act to give tax credits for operators opening up the old stripper wells for secondary recovery with steam, and the Encore technology would be an excellent resource, using "free" fuel to produce either electricity or hydraulic power to be used on-site in the field, eliminating large electrical purchases.

Although the HeatSeeker is still undergoing testing, a second product called the Eliminator removes the need for an electric pump in many power plants. A third patented "high-torque kinetic energy turbine" can be applied to harness either wind or riverside tidal power to generate electricity.

The HeatSeeker is what Shultz called a "vapor-over-hydraulics technology" in which instead of the vapor driving a turbine with all of its compression and inefficiencies, Encore uses the vapor to displace hydraulic fluid at high pressure to generate a 3,000-psi hydraulic stream to power a generator or power wheels on a construction vehicle.

"Oil and gas field operators are required by law to get that water and pump it back down into the ground, a very expensive process," he said. "Our technology will allow them to take that water and generate electricity from the heat, which in turn they can use to lower their pump injection costs."

E&P operators don't even realize that there is "gold in their [well] water," he said, adding that environmental aspects in being eligible for renewable energy credits, emission credits and other credits with economic advantages are inherent in the closed-loop system that has no emissions.

"It is a closed loop system; doesn't burn any fuels; it is simply a heat exchanger. We take the heat, which boils a working fluid, which displaces hydraulic fluid to turn a hydraulic loader, or gear, or whatever. That is the key, and the irony is we earn renewable energy credits because we don't emit anything, but we do generate electricity."

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